Farming in Annaghmore, Ballycastle, Co. Mayo, Sean and Imelda Garrett have been breeding pedigree Limousin cattle since the year 2000.

Impressed with the Limousin bull they had been running with the suckler herd at the time, the decision was made to start a pedigree herd  – purchasing their first pedigree Limousin heifer from the Brownhill Herd at Carrigallen Mart – adding another one or two from the Liskilleen Herd in Ballinrobe.

Working away from the farm at the time, Sean needed an easily-managed breed. Recalling the decision at the time, he said: “One of the main reasons was that it was easy to manage the Limousins; they are good calvers.”

Since then, Sean and Imelda have operated a closed herd  – calving 80% of the cows in the spring and the remaining 20% in the autumn, noting that the autumn bull calf suits the spring sale season some 18 months later.

While suitable bulls are sold at Irish Limousin Cattle Society sales, females are sold direct off-farm locally and further afield, with some turned out at special sales throughout the year.

As the homebred herd is closed, Sean uses his choice of AI bulls which included sires such as Tomschoice Lexicon, Bavardage, Ampertaine Elgin, Loyal and Telfers Munster this year.

Mothering ability and vigorous calves

Limousin dams are known for their ability calve naturally and rear that quality calf on adequate amounts of quality milk – leading to the Limousin dam being the number one suckler cow in Ireland over the past number of years. Limousin newborn calves are also strong and robust, and usually up shortly after calving; these are key attributes for Sean.

“The mothering ability is very good; they have adequate milk all the time for the calves and we don’t start creeping the calves until later in the year; we let them grow naturally.

“The calves are very vigorous and they are up and sucking very fast. If you’re going to work in the morning, that’s the way you want them,” he added.

Additionally, the Garretts never had a cesarian section on the farm in their 22 years breeding pedigree Limousin cattle – backing up the claim of an easy-calving breed.

Show and Sale Success

Sean is no stranger to success around the show ring and indeed the sale ring.

At the Roscrea premier show and sale in 2015, his first prizing-winning bull, Annaghmore Jumbo – a Hatcliffe Dancer son – was purchased for €14,000 by Welsh farmer, John Yomans. Jumbo was out of Sean’s homebred Nenuphar dam, Annaghmore Candy.

More recently, at the Roscrea premier autumn show and sale a number of weeks ago, Annaghmore Sparker – an Ampertaine Nugent son – and Annaghmore Sydney sold for €5,700 and €3,600, respectively.

Second prize-winning bull Annaghmore Sparker sold for €5,700 at the autumn premier in 2022

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